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 The Age of Magic Prohibition

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Posts : 631
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Join date : 2011-09-19
Age : 23
Location : Somewhere in the Dark Forest

PostSubject: The Age of Magic Prohibition   Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:35 pm

Magic may have been prohibited by the church after the 4th century,
but that did not stop many people, including Christians, from
practicing and using magic. It was used as folk magic, throughout
parts of Europe by common people to heal and to harm. Eventually the
churches put a stop to folk magic and folk cures, and it became a
fuel to stoke the fires of the Inquisition against witchcraft, a
moral panic that lasted several centuries.
In Southern Europe, witchcraft, charms spells and rituals were a part
of the spiritual experiences of the people of Slovenia Bulgaria and
Yugoslavia. Women were traditionally the witches of the villages and
their work included healing magic, casting spells and the passing of
knowledge on to new generations. Within the village there was a white
witch, or one who healed, and a black witch, one who practiced a
harmful kind of magic. Some of their work included using herbs and
garlic that burned as incense or made into potions.1
In witchcraft, iron tools were buried in the ground of the area where
an enemy planted crops to prevent their growth. These people used
spirits, gods, demons, and animals within their beliefs to create
their magic. Charms and talismans were used to protect from the
effects of the evil eye. In Slovenia and Bulgaria, both men and women
were able to use witchcraft.2 The female witch used the power and
energy of the moon or lunar goddess and the male witch's purpose was
to protect the village people from evils. Witches were paid to create
charms and to cast spells that either harmed or healed. In many ways
their magic was natural and sympathetic.
The Slavic pantheon included many kinds of spirits, everything from
household spirits to gods who caused misfortune and disease. Some of
the gods invoked in curses and spells were the goddess Beda, who was
responsible for the disasters, misfortune and unhappiness in life,
and the Slavic pagan god Chernobog, who was known as the Black god, a
god of diseases, evils, grief and woe.3
These people who used folk magic in Europe, generally known as
cunning folk, had widespread influence throughout pre-Christian
England, Europe, and even Italy. The word cunning referred to the old
English word kenning, meaning wise man or woman.4 It was a tradition that they had healing or cursing powers through their family history,
and it was often accepted that their powers were hereditary, as their
knowledge had been passed down throughout the generations.5 Of
course, much of what we are able to know about this rests on
anecdotal evidence, and stories.
Cunning folk were recognized as part of British and European rural
life because of the important place they held in society. All the
people of the village would consort the cunning man or woman for
whatever ailed them, be it a natural cause or a supernatural one.
These cunning folk would charge money for their services and make a
living from making charms, using divination and astrology, and by
using common folk cures. The cunning folk would also offer protection
from witchcraft, cast love spells, provide divination, use healing,
and even find lost property and missing loved ones.6
The cunning folk were healers, and they used herbs and other magical
techniques to cure. Of course, these spells and charms were against
the dictates of the Roman Catholic Church, but this was often
ignored. It was not uncommon for the village priest to use the same
cures as the cunning folk did, or even to consult with the cunning
folk in the removal of a curse.7
In the end, most of these cunning folk were not charged with heresy
simply because their services were needed to cure the sick and
diseased of the village. At times, a cunning man or woman was used to
reveal to inquisitors who was supposedly doing witchcraft and
consorting with the devil. Although it was more likely for a cunning
person to be tried in a witchcraft trial, the early church mostly
overlooked these cases because these practices were so common amongst
the people.8
By the year 330ad, The Roman ruler Constantine had created his new
Christian empire, and the process of the Christian church and its
beliefs began to spread throughout Europe by means of conquests and
war. In this transition, the peoples of south Eastern Europe combined
their pagan beliefs with Christianity, using demons and saints along
with the traditional folk gods, within their recognized pantheon.
Before the many witchcraft laws of the medieval era were enacted
there was no clear dividing line between the use of demons or angels
in magic, and both were used in spellwork.
During the middle ages, the practice of pagan folk magic fell out of
favor in the public eye due to the spread of the Roman Catholic
church. The church created the Cannon Law in the year 400 AD., a set
of universal beliefs of the church, which deemed any witchcraft to be
an act of heresy. Heresy is a word that was translated from the greek
hairetikos meaning "able to choose" and, hairesis "a taking or
choosing”, from which the word Heretic came from in the middle ages.
As the church tried to assert their control by unifying the beliefs
of the many different sects into one rule, they did not want people
to have a choice. And those who did not follow the rules of the
church became heretics, including Jews, Muslims and any other folk
who was not Christianized or who did not agree with the teachings of
the Church.
From the book by the Christian theologian Thomas Aquinas,
"Heretic...is one who either devise of Follows false and new opinion,
for the sake of some temporal profit" To Aquinas and other rulers of
the church, Heresy originated with
unbelief, from a choice to live
without faith.
There have been many studies on the
role of women and witchcraft during
this era. It is suggested that since
the majority of accused witches were
women, that women had been the main
target of the witch trials. This may
be true considering the patriarchal
nature of Christianity, and how it
eradicated any signs of female
worship, and deemed all things
feminine as evil, even from the start
of creation. Women suffered the most torture of all being targeted
for being 'sexually unnatural' compared to men. One author describes
it in this way:
“The early modern period, however, was characterized by the
intersection of a peculiarly political definition of Christianity
in which apostasy to the devil became the archetypal act of
betrayal and a cultural atmosphere in which women as a category
became the repository of a whole range of social and cultural
During this era, many Jews were unfairly singled out and persecuted
in many areas of Europe due to the Christian publics fear of the rituals and customs of the Jews. The Jews practiced their own kind of
magic, and in the medieval era it was known both to Jews and to
others that there were some who used magical powers. The first known
prosecution of a Jew for witchcraft was in 1066, when two men were
put on trial who were under suspicion of the church. The church
always confiscated all personal property and money of those who were
accused and executed.10
Their rituals and customs were demonized, they became wolves among
sheep, and they were heretics of the church. To demonize is to
demean the importance or validity of a religion, idea or personal
character by ascribing an evil attribute to it.
The romans, who seemed to have perfected torture, including
crucifixion, had created many devices to torture suspected witches.
They were thrown into sacks filled with rocks and tossed into the
water. If the witch survived it was because the devil had saved her,
and if she died it was because her soul was taken by Satan. Accused
witches were pricked with pins, hung on the Catherine Wheel, spun
continuously in cages, stretched on the rack, drowned, burned alive
at the stake.
They were tortured and coerced into confession of witchcraft and
heresy. It was the belief of the church that they had spared the
lives of these supposed witches by having them executed in their
god's name. The trial had less to do with bringing justice than it
was to make a public show of the power and authority of the truth,
while pronouncing each victim of the court as guilty without even the
slightest belief in a person's innocence.
The most influential book of this era was the Maleus Malificarum, the
“Witches Hammer” authored in 1487, by the Inquisitors Heinrich Kramer
and Jacob Sprenger. It was used as a guide to identifying witches,
for torturing them into confession, and also as a guide to
prosecuting witches. This book described gatherings of witches that
included naked dancing, Initiations of witches by the devil,
orgiastic parties, and even baby killing and cannibalism. This book
prescribed the use of holy candles along with other consecrated
objects to ward off demons.
Many courts used this book as a document to persecute the accused.
The church enforced its policy against magic. Descriptive writings
and images of witches as the consort of the devil and flying on
brooms, headed to a black mass or witches coven put fear into the
The belief in evil deeds was a concept created by the church and it
was known in witchcraft courts as maleficium. It described witches
who had supernatural abilities or those who supposedly signed a pact
with Satan. Even though the book had been banned by the church by
1490 it was used in many courts.. all of those who were put on trial
had no real connections with witchcraft or magic.
The church, along with various writers such as the influential witch
hunter, Johann Weyer ( 'De Praestigiis Daemonum et Incantationibus ac
Venificiis' On the Illusions of the Demons and on Spells and
Poisons, 1563, and 'Pseudomonarchia Daemonum' The False Hierarchy
of Demons, 1577). Weyer was the student of Agrippa, who was an
influential occult writer, alchemist and philosopher.
There was also Nicholas Remy (“Daemonolatreiae libri tres”
Demonolatry 1595), who's book was very influential during the witch
trials. Also, King James I ('Daemonologie' 1597) added to the various
Christian mythological beliefs in demonic witchcraft. and added
their own notions of demonic hierarchies and the attributes of
demons. The artwork of this era often reflected the demonizing of the
Jews by adding Jewish characteristics to the image of Satan.
Even while the church prohibited use of magic, there were Christian
magicians who continued to use magic in ceremonial form, by calling
upon their god in prayerful ritual ceremonies. This was known as
theurgy and it was differentiated from pagan folk magics by it's
focus on the Christian god, kabbalism and Christian ceremonial magic.
These kinds of magic were scrawled into manuscripts that were written
and re-written, known as the Grimoires. The most famous of these is a
collection of writings by several authors, known as the grimoire of
Solomon. A.E. Waite suggested that this book began as a collection of
writings dating as far back as the 14th ct. While it is hard to know
the exact age of this book, a good estimate is that the modern
versions of the text appeared after the 17th century.11
The pagan magic of that era was demonized as well, now described as
Nigromancy. Translated from the Greek it means 'Black Divination',
also known as the Black Arts. It was a mistranslation of the word,
Necromancy, a practice of the Greeks that used divination by reading
signs within corpses. As a magic of the dead it was evil to the
Christian theurgist who labeled this practice as “nigromancy”, black
Re-written by Crowley and Mathers, in the Lesser Key of Solomon, is a (translated) definition of this word, nigromancy – which declares all magic
that is not pure and holy in intent is the work of Satan.
"This Noble Science often degenerateth, from Natural becometh
Diabolical, and from True Philosophy turneth unto Nigromancy. The
which is wholly to be charged upon its followers, who, abusing or
not being capable of that High and Mystical Knowledge do
immediately hearken unto the temptations of Sathan, and are misled
by him into the Study of the Black Art. Hence it is that Magic
lieth under disgrace, and they who seek after it are vulgarly
esteemed Sorcerers.”
The purpose of this magic seemed different, in that it was not
considered heresy if the magic was Christian in origin. Some of these
books taught how to summon demons and other books taught how to expel
them. Other books were astrological and ceremonial. There are several
main traditions of magic that have influenced or spawned various
occult orders, authors, books and organizations based on the magic of
these grimoires.

Source: www.spiritualsatanist.com
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